What do you think?Does competitive sports build character? I think the fair answer is:It depends on the coach.
Great coaches,coaches who care about their players as people and honor the traditional spirit of sport as the persuit of team and individual excellence,are inevitably character builders.They are,first and foremost,teachers who measure their success not in victories or records, but in their ability to help youngsters reach their highest potential.
Sure,they teach techniques and strategies,but by their words and actions they also teach vital,life skills and virtues like integrity,fairness,perserverance,courage,self-discipline and all the graces associated with good sportsmanship.The people they coach not only become better performers,they become better human beings,people you’d feel comfortable dating your own children.
On the other hand,coaches who have a more narrow view of their role measure their success primarily in terms of their won/lost record or in the number of all-star players they produce,often do more harm than good.
Under these coaches,players often become more selfish,self-absorbed,arrogant and unscrupulous in the persuit of personal glory and achievements.Even the coach doesn’t want to hang out with them.It’s no small danger to the future of our society and welfare of our young players, that so many coaches fall into the second category.
The recreational and educational goals of youth sports are too often undermined by volunteer as well as professional coaches,who are living out their own fantasies or advancing their own careers at the cost of character.
Our youth deserve better and it’s the job of parents and school principles to see that they get it.